Archive for February, 2023

I have Chicago trading down twice, once with Houston and again with Carolina. Chicago can draft Jaxon Smith-Njigba an old friend to their quarterback if they are serious about giving Justin Fields a chance at being a starting quarterback. The future first round picks netted in their trade down moves can be used to move up in the draft if Fields doesn’t work out and they want Caleb Williams or Drake Maye in 2024.

Houston moves up and acquires Nick Caserio’s latest 5-star quarterback (the only in this draft class) in Bryce Young.’s Daniel Jeremiah has been hyping Anthony Richardson and I believe he will go early in the draft. Carolina looks like they could be a real football team with a good quarterback, and Richardson might actually play better in the NFL than in Florida with okay pass protection.

Arizona taking Jalen Carter at three is pretty standard stuff, unless they get a trade down offer they like. I believe the Colts will like Levis because Colts head coach Shane Steichen should be able to unlock a more raw prospect like Levis. Stroud had a terrific game against Georgia, but may struggle on a team without strong receiver play, like Indianapolis.

Seattle goes with the big End in Tyree Wilson, they drafted two first rounders out of Texas Tech in the past 7-8 years in Jordyn Brooks and LJ Collier. Jon Schneider is a genius but clearly has his own big board and doesn’t care about perceived value when making draft selections. Seattle has favored the bigger defensive ends so they may genuinely value Tyree Wilson more than draft darling Will Anderson.

Detroit gets a dream pick with Will Anderson, they can take CJ Stroud here if Brad Holmes is high on Stroud.

Obviously the Raiders moved on from Derek Carr and will be watching tape on all the major quarterbacks in this draft class. Raiders general manager Dave Ziegler went on record saying: “it doesn’t mean we’re going to have an immediate answer this year. ” about finding a new quarterback. I believe they would draft one of the “big 4” quarterbacks if one is available at seven. Stroud would have good weapons in Las Vegas with Davante Adams, Darren Waller and Hunter Renfrow and could reasonably be expected to succeed if Vegas can improve the pass protection in 2023.

Falcons general manager Terry Fontenot has been challenging to figure out as a drafting general manager. His first two seasons, he’s taken two tall, fast receiving weapons in Kyle Pitts and Drake London. The Falcons badly need pass rush and more competition at quarterback, but they have not made those positions a priority in the past, so I wouldn’t expect them to now. Quentin Johnston is an okay enough value selection at eight and fits Fontenot’s pattern of large fast men in the receiving group.

Philadelphia likes to target the trenches early in the draft but are very close to a superbowl and bringing in a top corner to possibly replace James Bradberry could a major priority. Gonzalez has the size to maybe cover Travis Kelce or another similar move tight end.

Tennessee needs a left tackle after cutting Taylor Lewan and can have their pick. Johnson feels the safest and attended the same school as head coach Mike Vrabel (Ohio State). Ran Carthon is a new general manager and may shake things up, but this selection is the easiest, most logical pick for them in this mock draft.

Houston drafts Jordan Addison to add a real receiving threat for Bryce Young. They have so many needs, this pick could be almost any position and it wouldn’t be wrong for them.

The Jets add a versatile lineman in Peter Skoronski. Offensive tackle continues to be a problem for the Jets.

The Patriots will inevitably trade down and draft some linebacker/safety from Northwestern Tech-State that no one has heard of because that’s just what they do. In Fantasy mock draft world, the Patriots draft a future left tackle in Broderick Jones after really struggling at both tackle positions last year. They badly need wide receivers and safety help. And corner help. And a new center.

The Packers get to draft another defensive back in the first round as Adrian Amos is not under contract and Branch is widely regarded as the draft’s premier safety/nickel.

I went a little kooky here, but Washington may choose to let Daron Payne walk and sign Bryan Bresee to replace him. Payne had a great contract year, but an experienced GM like Martin Mayhew knows you can’t pay everyone.

The Steelers typically value front seven players early in the draft. There are no blue chip left tackles available, unless you’re high on Jaelyn Duncan. They have impact defenders Cam Sutton and Terrell Edmunds on expiring contracts. Skinner is a huge safety who could step in right away and cover the growing trend of “big slots” and eventually move into a starting safety role. When the Steelers drafted Terrell Edmunds he was considered a reach, but Tomlin and the Steelers brass seem to value the bigger defensive backs enough to draft them high.

Detroit needs competition all over that defense and would love Joey Porter Jr.

Tampa Bay has cap problems and needs a quarterback. If they don’t trade up I believe they dive back into adding to the secondary. They likely cannot resign starter Jamel Dean, as they are paying $35 million to Tom Brady, among other financial obligations. Witherspoon is a technician and Buccaneers GM Jason Licht has invested early and often in the Tampa secondary.

The Seahawks don’t typically draft corners early and may not like the selection of defensive tackles at this point in the draft. John Michael Schmitz is a terrific center and could start for Seattle for a decade plus. This would be on the less zany picks of Jon Schneider’s first round picks. Their interior offensive line is a wreck and do not have 2022 starting center Austin Blythe under contract for 2023.

The Chargers have cap problems that will lead them to release Keenan Allen in my opinion. Allen has been used primarily in the slot in LA, where Utah TE Dalton Kincaid could line up based on his usage at Utah. Daniel Jeremiah says most teams have Kincaid as TE1 in the draft. The Chargers have had success with Utah players in the past.

Baltimore favors value, and value on defense in the draft. They have three 35+ year olds in the front seven in Calais Campbell, JPP, and Justin Houston. Drafting Myles Murphy in a strong locker room of defenders might be just what he needs to unlock his potential. Myles Murphy has been compared to Travon Walker (first pick overall of 2022 draft) from a physical height, weight, speed perspective.

Minnesota needs corner help as always. Starter Patrick Peterson may be on the move, and they are skinny outside of Peterson at corner. Smith is a fundamentally sound corner, he doesn’t have prototypical, Richard Sherman size at 6’0″, but held up against a rough SEC schedule.

Jacksonville looks uneasy at every offensive line position except left tackle. Jaguars GM Trent Baalke favors overly large defensive linemen from Power five programs but may like Mauch’s versatility if they retain Jawaan Taylor and need help inside or let Taylor walk and want a right tackle.

The Giants made the playoffs with Daniel Jones and scrapwork help at wide receiver. Zay Flowers is a legit wide receiver outside or in the slot. This is a marriage of needs versus value at pick 25. The Giants have a strong relationship with Boston College since former coach Tom Coughlin had coached at BC as well.

I believe Dallas will look very closely at Bijan Robinson here, but Dallas has long made offensive line a major priority in the draft. I believe Dallas will cut Tyron Smith, have Tyler Smith start at left tackle in 2023, and could value O’Cyrus Torrence to replace him at left guard.

Buffalo has had one of the NFL’s top defenses for two or three years, and their top safety play has been a big part of that. Jordan Poyer is not under contract and Micah Hyde is over 30 and played only two games last year due to injury. Sydney Brown is an excellent coverage safety and would start on the Buffalo defense.

Cincinnati doesn’t seem to need good offensive line play to win playoff games. I think Cody Mauch or O’Cyrus Torrence would make sense here if available. I picked Emmanuel Forbes for them so Bengals fans can talk about something other than Eli Apple next offseason. Forbes gave up three touchdowns to pair with six interceptions. PFF claims he was targeted only one time (one catch for six yards) by Bryce Young in their game against Alabama.

New Orleans typically favors offensive linemen and defense in the first round. Like Tampa Bay they have massive cap problems and are very thin at quarterback. Jameis Winston is their only contracted quarterback. Mazi Smith would make sense here, I have Lukas Van Ness just as a value selection. The Saints need help at corner and could go Deonte Banks or Kelee Ringo as well.

Philadelphia takes Luke Wypler in the annual “Will Jason Kelce retire” contest. PFF loves Wypler and correctly pointed out Centers don’t often declare his early. Some have speculated Philadelphia could take Bijan Robinson because of their perceived superbowl window.

The Chiefs may not keep Orlando Brown Jr. and have shown that offensive line is a priority for them. Harrison is experienced with pass heavy offenses coming from Oklahoma and may be Kansas City’s best bet at 30. They could also explore edge rusher and wide receiver here. If Travis Kelce retires, the Chiefs could target tight end as well.

If you don’t like my picks, it’s because I hate you and your favorite team.

Notable players not in this mock:
Bijan Robinson, Texas RB – Jeremiah and others claim Robinson is a top five player overall in this draft class. Where he goes is up in the air.

Josh Downs, UNC WR – Downs is a smaller slot receiver who may drop because he lacks the size and versatility of his peers

Kelee Ringo, UGA CB – Ringo looks like a surefire starter to me. His detractors claim he isn’t consistent enough to be a high pick.

Trenton Simpson. Clemson LB – Linebackers are becoming the fullback of the defense. Simpson doesn’t seem to have the coverage chops to be an exciting name in the draft circles.

Luke Musgrave, Oregon State TE – Musgrave looks like a late first round pick to me. I just couldn’t find a place for him in this mock draft.

Michael Mayer, Notre Dame TE – Mayer might be a top 15 pick. Teams 13-16 could justifiably draft him there. A lot of teams that like tight ends already have one, and don’t run 12 formation enough to justify drafting another tight end this early.

Today’s song of the post is “Alchemy” by Above and Beyond